Friday, November 13, 2009


[i-mur-juhn-see] noun, plural -cies, adjective
1. a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action.
2. a state, esp. of need for help or relief, created by some unexpected event: a weather emergency; a financial emergency.
3. granted, used, or for use in an emergency: an emergency leave; emergency lights.

Notice the definition is in terms of words such as 'sudden', 'urgent', and 'unexpected'.

U.S. alleges company laundered money for Iran from CNN.

In another U.S.-Iran development, President Obama said Thursday in a letter to Congress that the national emergency with respect to Iran that was declared in 1979 during the Iranian revolution has not ended.

"Our relations with Iran have not yet returned to normal, and the process of implementing the January 19, 1981, agreements with Iran is still under way," Obama wrote in an official "notice of continuation" required to extend the emergency status with Iran beyond the anniversary date of November 14. "For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared on November 14, 1979, with respect to Iran, beyond November 14, 2009."

Now, given the definition of the word 'emergency', how on earth can a 'state of emergency' last for 30 years? Orwell would probably be inspired to write a new chapter of Animal Farm where the pigs declare a 30 year state of 'emergency'. Of course, this is the same government that continues to fund 8 year old wars as if they were 'unexpected' in 'emergency supplemental' funding bills.

Notice also that the US government defines 'normal' in its relations with Iran as when the Shah of Iran was our murdering and torturing puppet. Apparently, we must be in a state of emergency with Iran until we 'return' to those wonderful good ol' days when we trained the Shah's men in the CIA way of torture. When the CIA is back in Tehran, the 'emergency' will be over.

Remember back when Obama was just a candidate in the primaries, and that in order to win he needed progressive votes, and he kept promising that things would 'change' and he would follow a different course? Maybe one where we actually talked with the Iranian government as adults?? Instead, he tries to overthrow their government with a coup, and now continues the ridiculous notion of a thirty year long 'sudden' and 'unexpected' state with Iran.

BTW, this is at the tail end of a CNN piece on another story. One of the ways they try to hide embarrassing announcements. The main story is also interesting. The US government is seizing 4 American mosques and a skyscraper in NYC. It seems the Shah used to own the skyscraper, so it passed on to the Iranian state. Who then gave it to a foundation they set up so that the rents earned by the skyscraper could fund the college educations of Iranians who wish to study abroad. Obviously a communist plot. Oops, they aren't communist plots anymore, now they are 'terrorist' plots.

Their crime. Not one steamy allegation of the foundation supporting terrorism in the piece. I guess the crew that makes these things up from whole cloth had a day off. Instead, the charge is that they've done business with the Iranian state-owned bank. Not a surprise at all if the foundation is giving money to students in Iran to come to university here. I suspect they would put money into the family accounts at this state-owned bank. But ...

U.S. and European Union officials last year designated Bank Melli as a proliferator for supporting Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and funneling money to the Revolutionary Guard and Quds Force, considered terrorist groups by the United States.

Lets see. 'Funneling money'? Isn't that what a bank is supposed to do? So, I guess what the administration bought by Wall Street is really saying is that its illegal for Iran to have a bank. Goldman Sachs needs their business.

And, everyone from the experts at the IAEA to the experts at the CIA keep saying that Iran does not have an illegal nuclear program. But, this bank is still accused by the US of 'funneling money' to it. Which I suppose really means that both the Iranian Treasury and this Iranian government agency both have counts at the state-owned Iranian bank. What a shock! What horrible crimes this bank has committed! And of course, by extension, what great crimes this foundation in America has committed by also committed by daring to do business with the same bank!

Or, to put it into Chicago terms, this would be about the same as the feds seizing a church because it happens to use the same bank for its accounts as Al Capone. Even if its Al Capone's bank, does that make a church nefarious gangsters if they open a checking account there?

My real guess is this. Somebody wanted the Shah's old skyscraper, and all of this was an excuse to go grab it. Manhattan real estate is still valuable. Remember, when the Nazi Germans stole the property and money of the jews, they dressed it up by calling the jews 'terrorists'.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How low can they go?


And yet in the now-Democratic Congress seven years later, with deficits exploding and the government clearly needing to strengthen any and all incentives for corporations to pay their taxes, I was more than disheartened to read this story in the Hill newspaper this week:

[] Multinational corporations are fighting to preserve language in a spending bill that would weaken a ban on federal contracts.

The provision, inserted in the Senate version of the bill at the request of the Obama administration, would weaken a ban on federal contracts for inverted companies...

Before the ban began in 2002, four of the 100 largest federal contractors were inverted, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

In 2001, those four companies received $2.7 billion in federal contracts, but they have unable to win the contracts since the ban was put into place. []

The Obama administration is justifying its push on the grounds that the ban may - at some point in the undetermined future - conflict with our trade agreements. It's a charge North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) rightly calls "absurd."

Is there nothing that these Democrats won't do to sell us out to corporate America. Think about this for a second. This is a Congress that is deliberately voting to reduce tax revenue in the middle of a recession by giving favors to corporate America.

I don't suppose they'd let every American citizen move their official residence to the Bahamas in order to reduce our taxes. Naw, didn't think so. You have to be able to bribe Congress with millions of dollars to get such preferential treatment.

Why on earth did the people elect these crooks? And, sure the people won't vote to re-elect a Congress that lets corporations move revenue and jobs out of America?

180,000 Dead American Citizens

Failing the People on Health Care by Ralph Nader.

The House of Representatives debate on the health insurance "reform" is over with the Democrats failing the people and the Republicans disgracing themselves as having left their minds back in the third grade (with apologies to third graders).

House Democrats were determined to pass any bill with a nice sounding name, such as "The Affordable Health Care for America Act". Single payer, full Medicare for all was never on the table even though a majority of citizens, physicians and nurses support that far more efficient, free choice of health care professionals, system.

and ....

The Journal of Public Health has just published a peer-reviewed study by Harvard physicians-researchers that estimates 45,000 Americans lose their lives yearly because they cannot afford health insurance to receive diagnosis and treatment. Strange how cool the House is to giving these fatalities a four year pass.

3,000 Americans died on 9-11. In response, we went to war. We've spent hundreds of billions of dollars seeking retribution. But also with the goal to make sure we don't lose another 3,000 Americans in a terrorist attack.

But, the Democrats just said that its perfectly okay with them if 180,000 Americans die from lack of health care. That's just in the time between now and when this awful 'bailout with a blue cross' bill takes effect. Since the bill does not 'mandate' that all Americans have access to health care, more will continue to die after 2013.

The Democrats just clearly stated to the American citizens that they approve the deaths of 180,000 Americans, that's 60,000 TIMES the number who died on 9-11, as long as corporate profits are maintained.

180,000 dead Americans in order to protect corporate profits. That's today's 'new Democrats'. 180,000 dead Americans in order to protect corporate profits. Whenever you see a (D) after a candidates name, that's what you need to think about. 180,000 dead Americans in order to protect corporate profits.

How on earth could American voters elect a Congress that is willing to kill 180,000 American citizens in order to protect the profits of their corporate contributors?

And the really strange part is that the Democrats seem confident that American voters will re-elect a Congress that just voted to kill 180,000 dead Americans in order to protect corporate profits. Surely they aren't right? Don't ask the corporate media that question. Ask yourself that question. As a voter and as someone who can participate in political campaigns, are you going to re-elect a Congress that just voted to kill 180,000 Americans to protect corporate profits?

Its up to you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Revising History -- Veterans' Day

Veterans' Day was originally the world's response to the horrible mass murder of World War 1. The armistice that ended that awful and pointless conflict was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month ... November 11th. Marked in the US as 'Veterans' Day'.

The Veterans' Day does not exist so that we can all cheer on the military as it leads further and further into more and more war. Veterans' Day exists as a reminder that if you let the generals make the decisions, then they can kill 60,000 in a day. Just like at the Somme where they kept ordering line after line of troops up towards the machine guns. The British command was full of the philosophical predecessors of Gen. McCrystal who thought that "more troops" was always the answer. Line after line of them sent towards the machine guns. And not just for a day, but for day after day for an entire summer. This effort moved the German line back a meaningless 7 miles, but never achieved the breakthrough that the generals kept saying was only one more 'surge' away. 432,000 British soldiers were killed or wounded in those months. "More troops" was not the answer.

Veterans' Day is the cry of the world to end this madness.

The answer to the question

The title of the AfterDowningStreet article below asks a question. "Who said they'd vote no on a health care bill this bad?" Fifty seven Democrats had made that promise in July. The answer is that two were good to their word. Kucinich and Massa.

The bill passed by 5 votes.

What does this tell you? That these 57 members would have had enormous power if they had stuck together and stuck to their guns.

We've seen the blue dogs play this game. We will likely see the minority Republicans in the Senate do so soon. Sometimes, a minority too small to pass legislation can still have great power just by saying no.

The Democrats desperately needed the votes of these 57 Representatives to pass their 'Bailout under a Blue Cross'. The question is, why didn't these 57 use the power that this position gave them in order to demand a decent bill?

These 57 had a veto power over the whole dang thing. Why didn't they use this power? If even three others had joined Kucinich, then they had the power to kill this bill. Why didn't they use this power?

Its a very old game in Washington. And as such, everyone knows what the next step would be. The Democratic leaders would come to this caucus and said 'what do you want?' If this group had really wanted to get some progressive (ie, decent, moral, caring) features into this bill, they had the power to do so by saying no. Why didn't they?

Instead, they lined up and voted for the big health corporations. All us suckers got was a nice sounding statement from Kucinich. Isn't that all we ever get from the Democrats? Nice words? I liked the words. I framed them and put them up on my little virtual wall here. But nice words is all we got.

The next obvious question to ask is this, "Why do we keep electing Democrats?"

A Bailout Under a Blue Cross

Who Said They'd Vote No on a Healthcare Bill This Bad in July, And Who Lied from

Kucinich: Why I Voted NO

Washington D.C. (November 7, 2009) – After voting against H.R. 3962 - Affordable Health Care for America Act, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement:

“We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.

“Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by 3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get sick.

“But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies — a bailout under a blue cross.

“By incurring only a new requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, a weakened public option, and a few other important but limited concessions, the health insurance companies are getting quite a deal. The Center for American Progress’ blog, Think Progress, states “since the President signaled that he is backing away from the public option, health insurance stocks have been on the rise.” Similarly, healthcare stocks rallied when Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill without a public option. Bloomberg reports that Curtis Lane, a prominent health industry investor, predicted a few weeks ago that “money will start flowing in again” to health insurance stocks after passage of the legislation. last month reported that pharmacy benefit managers share prices are hitting all-time highs, with the only industry worry that the Administration would reverse its decision not to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices, leaving in place a Bush Administration policy.

I like Kucinich. I just wish he'd leave that awful party.

The last line is telling. Yet again, the Democrats leave 'in place a Bush Administration policy'. Isn't it obvious that this is the function of today's corporate-owned Democrats? When the Republican brand crashes and burns from giving too much to corporations, the Democrats take power and protect and defend those policies from change.

From war to wall street, from homeland security to health care, from domestic spying to defense budgets, what we've seen repeatedly from the Democrats is that they are protecting Bush policies. And expanding them where possible.

This is what you get when you vote Democrat. I like Kucinich. But he's a black sheep in his party. His party leaders, the ones who are passing this paen to the big health corporations, tried to kick Kucinich out of Congress last year by running a pro-corporation primary challenger against him.